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Lighten up, man

I thoroughly enjoy reading the letters to the editor each morning. It is actually one of the first sections I entertain to begin my day. It's amusing to read what some folks are complaining about each day.

The most recent tattle that brought a laugh to me was the individual who evidently felt that the Marco Island Department of Motor Vehicles center he visited was subpar. Now here's a big dilemma in your day, huh? Murders, crime, the border parade, accidents, death, fires, floods — I could go on and on. 

A bad day at the DMV and your life is all but over? As a transplant from the fringes of the North, New Jersey to be precise, I can assure you that the DMV down here is like eating an ice cream cone in the park on a beautiful day. Up North? Well, let's just say that I would rather have my wisdom teeth taken out with a screwdriver than to ever have to entertain that again.

Lighten up, man. Tomorrow is promised to no one and ya just never know when your clock's gonna stop. 

Steve Zihala, Naples

Job not well done

Pride in a job well done? Where is it to be seen?

Certainly not in the core values of the workers who completed the grotesque mutilation of the westbound lanes of Davis Boulevard opposite Kings Lake Square. And even more certainly not in the obvious lack of supervision, quality control and application to the work at hand that are the primary functions of an on-site supervisor.

This formerly pristine roadway, a major and critically important gateway to the heart of Naples, will now be a daily reminder that our system of personal values is in serious danger.  

Alfred P. Giannini, Naples

Stop Lake Okeechobee discharges

I was in Southwest Florida recently for a long-awaited kayaking trip with an old friend. We planned to paddle part of the Great Calusa Blueway and enjoy the remote beaches of Keewaydin Island and Cayo Costa.

We were devastated to find the area infested with red tide, with dead fish in Rookery Bay and a dead loggerhead sea turtle on the beach. The rust-colored water caused a burning sensation on our skin and we had to cut the trip short.

During our visit, there was a protest on the Matanzas Pass Bridge to oppose the Army Corps of Engineers’ releases of water from Lake Okeechobee down the Caloosahatchee River to the Gulf of Mexico. I applaud these protesters for taking a stand on this practice, which can exacerbate toxic algae blooms, including red tide.

Tourism is a critical part of Florida’s economy, and without clean water, it will suffer and people may stay away. I have been visiting Southwest Florida since the 1970s and it is painful to see the decline in water quality.

I hope Florida’s leaders will halt the Lake Okeechobee discharges and protect the beauty of the Southwest Florida region.

Michele Fetting, Pittsburgh

Vote down Amendment 8

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) seeks voters’ approval to amend the state constitution. Six of the eight amendments on the November ballot are bundled, meaning the commission combined several initiatives into each amendment.

Amendment 8 has two educational initiatives that sound appealing or neutral, civic education and school board member term limits, but also has a poison pill.  A small change in wording will keep school districts from overseeing state-appointed, publicly funded charter schools.

Districts have no say now in how many charter schools the state approves or where. If Amendment 8 passes, districts will lose the ability to monitor charter school performance and will have no input into charter school decisions, even if they affect other district schools.

Collier County School Board member, Treasure Coast Classical Academy charter school co-founder and CRC member Erika Donalds set up a PAC to raise funds to market Amendment 8. Donors include:

  • Red Apple Development, a charter school developer.
  • The state director, Florida Federation for Children, which does lobbying, marketing and PR for tax credit scholarships (vouchers).
  • The president of National School Choice Week.
  • Another PAC whose contributors include Red Apple Development, Charter Schools USA and a virtual school company.

These donors hope Amendment 8 will pass because it will help them expand charter school networks and/or privatize education. 

If Amendment 8 receives 60 percent of the votes, the state or a third-party authorizer will manage charter schools for 20 years. 

Local accountability will protect taxpayers and respond to parents better than a state agency or a third-party entity funded by the schools it authorizes (using 2 to 5 percent of per-pupil spending). Vote no on Amendment 8.

Anne Hartley, Naples

 

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